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#58663 - 03/27/04 08:37 PM Need answers to some questions
lindts Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/09/03
Posts: 26
After 2 1/2 months of angry silence and avoidance, my bf finally is back in my life. Brief recap: he pseudo-proposed at Christmas, I said yes but I DIDN'T want to (vice WOULDN'T) move with him across country like he requested; he took it to mean "I don't love you", he broke off the pseudo-engagement and gave me 2 1/2 months of silence. Eventually, I realized some other stresses had triggered all of this (a wobble?).
During that time I went to a really good 6 week support group for partners. Just prior to my b-day, I sent him a 9 page letter telling him how much I love him but asking the questions that I needed to ask (why is his displaced anger towards me instead of his parents; what are his other relationship sabotage techniques (so that I could prep for and recognize them), when were we going to see each other again; our future together, starting a family). My intention was to make the letter very heartfelt and loving. Well, he gets the letter, gets furious, and calls me up to say that he isn't going to finish reading it, wants me to stop psycho-analyzing him, wants me to leave him alone, he's angry that I am going to the support meetings, that the SA has absolutely nothing to do with the last 2 1/2 months of silence and he wishes he never confided in me about the SA. I stayed totally calm on the phone, apologized for the perception of psycho-analysis in the letter, but held my ground about the waste of precious time during the silent treatment, and told him I wasn't apologizing for truthfully telling him I didn't want to move. We civily went at it for about 1 1/2 hours and by the end of the phone call, I was sure that it was going to be another 4 months of silence. But I was glad that I got all of my feelings out in the letter and said everything I wanted to, on the phone. He had said, prior to hanging up, that we'd get together at some point for my birthday the next week (I figured a 1 hour restaurant dinner at best).
Well, I have no idea what happened on his end re: letter/phone call but not only did he celebrate my birthday, he made it into a birthday week. A bbq party at his parents house (he hadn't let me see them during the silent treatment), an elegant dinner and tickets to a bball game. He's calling me almost every night and last night, not only did he insist on coming to my house for dinner ( 1 hour drive) but he spent the night and held me the entire night. He left in the late morning saying his parents were waiting for him then called me as soon as he got home, but is spending tonight (Saturday) with his parents again. ( I know he's telling the truth because of caller ID and because I'm close with his family \:\) I know he is trying so hard with our relationship during his recovery. But for some reason he can only handle small amounts of time together (slowly it increases). He doesn't have any close friends and when we are not together, he spends all of his time either alone or with his parents who live near him. He's not a momma's boy, but he is intensely close to his parents like a little boy (he's mid thirties).
Here are my questions:
1) Why does he always spend so much time with his parents? They don't know about the SA but shouldn't he displace his anger towards them for not doing anything rather than me. They don't deserve to be blamed, but I'm just trying to understand his line of thinking.
2) My bf doesn't seem to want to socialize with others? How do partners explain this to others during "couples events"?
3) Does my bf really think the last 2 1/2 month silent treatment was about the pseudo-engagement, or does he realize deep down inside that it's about the SA but just doesn't want to admit it to me. When I think about what he said, I get extremely hurt thinking that he was intentionally trying to hurt me by not talking to me, but in my heart I really believe he was going through a bad period with the SA because he's too nice of a person otherwise.
4) I'm walking on eggshells because things once again bottomed out and are slowly creeping upwards. It's good to see him smile. Should I hold off on serious "talk about our future"? If so, until when? I don't want to get him defensive and inward but we've been together for a few years and my biological clock is ticking (upper thirties).
Thanks for listening.


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#58664 - 03/28/04 12:21 AM Re: Need answers to some questions
theo Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 1117
lindts,
i have a feeling there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye, so to speak. there is a great deal of volatility that he is working through and if there is some trigger you are not aware of it could snap again. i urge caution. he sounds like a good man, but a very haunted one. we all carry our ghosts and sometimes they appear when we least expect them to but there is something more here. you showed a great deal of courage when you not only wrote and sent the letter, but also when you stayed by your committment to yourself. continue to do so. enjoy the time you share, but be very careful. take care.

_________________________
journey well,
theo dewolfe

- It is gift, and gift will find its way
- I inherit through my choice. I build through my affirmation. It is through my freedom that I nurture, or fade into autonomy
- I was not given to serve life, but to embrace it

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#58665 - 03/29/04 02:28 PM Re: Need answers to some questions
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
lindts,

I'm going to try to answer your questions although some of them are troubling for me. So if what I have to say seems harsh, know that it's still true, I'm just too troubled to find a nicer way to say it all.

First off, his parents-- this is really where there's more going on here than meets the eye. If they're so great and you're so close, and they don't deserve any blame, what is it that makes you want him to turn his anger towards them? It does seem as though he's intensely close to them; in fact it seems uncomfortably close. Is his closeness with them a factor in his lack of friends? Is there some special reason why his parents would be waiting for him to get home from his girlfriend's in the late morning, or do they always keep track of how he comes and goes? What, if anything, do they have to say about a 2 1/2 month silence in their son's relationship with a woman they're close to? If they are so close, why hasn't he confided in them about his abuse? I think it's possible that he's providing something emotionally for his parents that he shouldn't be providing, probably at the expense of other relationships. (This might help to answer your second question also)

Regarding question 3, about his reasons for/ thoughts on hurting you with silence-- recognize that he is complicated and that there can be more than one right answer. Think about one of those charts with the arrows going all different ways-- you may be following the arrows back to his SA, he may be following them somewhere else--it doesn't mean that either one of you is wrong. But they are his actions, his thoughts, his intents, and while it may be helpful to your understanding as a partner to trace as many things as possible back to the arrow leading to SA, to him it probably feels like you're trying to pigeonhole him or it's all you can see about him. This might explain why he got angry about the meetings as well.

About the future--and I don't mean to offend--WHY would you want to think about having a family with a man who can cut you off entirely for 2 months after a few years together, who you have to walk on eggshells around, who can only reconcile with you after blowing up at you on the phone, who can only handle small amounts of intimate time with anyone but his parents? Does that seem fair to the children you'd be bringing into that household? Birthday week or no birthday week, it doesn't sound to me like he's ready to be a father. If you love him, why would you want to make him a father before he's ready? If your biological clock is ticking, volunteer at a children's hospital. The world does not need any more incapable parents.

Again, that's the only way I know how to say it.

SAR


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#58666 - 03/29/04 07:39 PM Re: Need answers to some questions
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Lindts

Quote:
2) My bf doesn't seem to want to socialize with others? How do partners explain this to others during "couples events"?
I was a specialist at this, if it was my 'friends' ( acquaintances more like )I was alright. But put me in an unknown crowd, or my wife's crowd, and I would sit in silence all night. I thought that I had nothing to offer and that I had nothing in common with these people. It's only in the last few years that I've established some TRUE friends, although many of them are my old acquaintances that I've got to know and trust fully.
I had to learn to like myself, and regain my self worth, before I felt that I had something to offer others.

Maybe, that's also why he's close to his family. They give him an environment that requires no act, no persona. It's a safe haven.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#58667 - 03/29/04 08:29 PM Re: Need answers to some questions
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Lindts,

I guess I'm like your bf, or like Dave was, when it comes to socializing. I hate it. I don't even like talking on the phone. I pull into the garage after work, and most days I don't leave the house until I go to work the next day. I bring something to read with me most places that I go.

My wife is a much more social person, and it has caused friction between us. In our counseling together I started to learn how much this bothers her, so now I try to be more "alive" when we go somewhere. It's still not as often as she would like, I know, but it's also more often than I like, so I guess we're meeting somewhere in the middle. And it is an effort to join in the conversations.

I don't know how much is the effect of abuse and how much is just my personality, or whatever.

HTH,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#58668 - 03/31/04 10:44 AM Re: Need answers to some questions
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
Originally posted by lindts:

>>>During that time I went to a really good 6 week support group for partners. Just prior to my b-day, I sent him a 9 page letter telling him how much I love him but asking the questions that I needed to ask (why is his displaced anger towards me instead of his parents;

Interesting - this happened to me too.. oh so much anger he had and sometimes still has.

It took a LONG time for my partner to draw the link between the SA and the "abandoned child" that was vulnerable to a pedophile. He had NOT brokered this possibility that his parents might be involved in the whole system.. and indeed the events/situations that lead up to SA are often a "system".. and instead he targetted his anger towards ME. I have had enough of that and only by the grace of GOD things hit bottom and recovered back in February, and also he's involved in a mens support group that acknowledges and puts emphasis on the "abandoning authority" - the parent or caregiver that "set up" the child for being sexually abused.

The group that he goes to had a session for partners and the one thing that our therapist said was that often survivors are more scarred by the abandoning authority - the person who should have protected them but didnt, than by the actual abuse incident itself. It is the "keeping of secrets" and the lack of support that causes chronic anxiety that the world is an unsafe place, that the survivor "does not count" and that they always have to be on guard.. that "nobody protected me so I have to do it myself"... burden is pretty damn heavy!!

>>>Well, he gets the letter, gets furious, and calls me up to say that he isn't going to finish reading it, wants me to stop psycho-analyzing him, wants me to leave him alone, he's angry that I am going to the support meetings, that the SA has absolutely nothing to do with the last 2 1/2 months of silence and he wishes he never confided in me about the SA.

I've heard this before.. are you sure you're not me?? \:\)

>>>I stayed totally calm on the phone, apologized for the perception of psycho-analysis in the letter, but held my ground about the waste of precious time during the silent treatment, and told him I wasn't apologizing for truthfully telling him I didn't want to move.

Good for you. Sounds like you're taking the tough love approach.. hold your ground.. hold on...

>>> But for some reason he can only handle small amounts of time together (slowly it increases).

Intimacy is a trigger for survivors.. the same thing happens to us too..

>>>He's not a momma's boy, but he is intensely close to his parents like a little boy (he's mid thirties)

My fiance is kind of unreasonably protective of his parents.. not that close, but strangely protective considering everything they've put him through.. The whole relationship that my fiance has with his parents is baffling.

>>>Why does he always spend so much time with his parents? They don't know about the SA but shouldn't he displace his anger towards them for not doing anything rather than me. They don't deserve to be blamed, but I'm just trying to understand his line of thinking.

Could be protection, denial, whatever. My fiance has this unbelievably insatiable desire to please his parents, especially his mother, when she is an inherently unpleasable person. As I said the relatkonship that my fiance has with his parents is hard to understand at the best of times. SA survivors are also sometimes emtionaly stuck at the age of the abuse - maybe this has something to do with their current relationship oddities?

Anyhow this is one thing that I have not yet figured out, and I"m not going to spend too much time on it unless i find it affecting our relationship (i.e. if he continues to go see them and it causes a lot of trigger-anger and it spills over onto me). How my fiance relates to his parents is his business, and I dont really have much right to comment. On occasion I do, and usually I get my head bit off...

>>>2) My bf doesn't seem to want to socialize with others? How do partners explain this to others during "couples events"?

My fiance has some issues with social anxiety disorder - not out of the realm of possibilities that this has something to do with the trauma of abuse... he has particular issues with socializing with men (his initial abuse was as an adolescent during/after a party, where drinking and socializing was going on...).

>>>3) Does my bf really think the last 2 1/2 month silent treatment was about the pseudo-engagement, or does he realize deep down inside that it's about the SA but just doesn't want to admit it to me.

Hard to know. But you can point out to him that you dont think that the 2.5 months silent treatment was appropriate in light of what you did - which was just expressing your needs about how you want to live your life.

Unfortunately survivors have had their own boundaries violated so badly it affects how they relate to others - they sometimes dont understand when they themselves are stepping over the line into borderline strong-arm-manipulative tactics. This is NOT a recrimination of survivors, but just that appropriate behaviour/boundaries has not been taught well to survivors, and has been really messed up on account of the trauma/abuse. Its more of a lack of awareness/ knowledge/ training than anything. It is HARD work to keep reasserting boundaries, but well worth it.

One thing that my fiance and I still struggle with is the "meeting of needs" and he often sees me trying to meet my needs (similar to your desire not to move halfway across the country) as extremely threatening.. its very bizarre and we often get into spats about this. I find that I"m just standing up for what I feel is normal and reasonable and he gets extremely offended by it.

There is definitely an undercurrent of "command and control" that is always simmering below the surface.. it can be exhausting and tiring.

>>>When I think about what he said, I get extremely hurt thinking that he was intentionally trying to hurt me by not talking to me, but in my heart I really believe he was going through a bad period with the SA because he's too nice of a person otherwise.

I hope you told him this??? YOu have nothing to lose right now I'd think...

>>>4) I'm walking on eggshells because things once again bottomed out and are slowly creeping upwards. It's good to see him smile. Should I hold off on serious "talk about our future"? If so, until when? I don't want to get him defensive and inward but we've been together for a few years and my biological clock is ticking (upper thirties).

Ayoye.. you are in the same shoes as me.. however when things got really bad for us I had to put it on the line.. biological clock or not... (during our recent breakup I even saw the faces of my yet unborn children disappear from my mind... so trust me I know what you are talking about). I had to say to him that I will NOT put up with certain things in our relationship - the verbal abuse, the silent treatment, the "come here-go-away" shit.. the "command and control" behaviour, and most importantly, the threats. That the threats of leaving me were NOT an option any more....

You DO have the right to set limits about your relationship - if you dont see any movement towards anything more permanent within a few months (six months or so) you may want to make some decisions.. they will be very hard but in relationships timing is everything....

Hell if its any consolation I broke up with my fiance on a Thursday night and by Friday morning he called his shrink and by Saturday we had bought a house. Same thing happened to my aunt - she was engaged for 4 years and got fed up, broke up with her fiance and 4 days later also bought a house.

I think relationships all hit these crisis-choke-points from time to time.

Go figure.

P


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#58669 - 04/01/04 10:23 AM Re: Need answers to some questions
PAS Offline
Member

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 577
Loc: Canada
About this comment.....

>>>>About the future--and I don't mean to offend--WHY would you want to think about having a family with a man who can cut you off entirely for 2 months after a few years together, who you have to walk on eggshells around, who can only reconcile with you after blowing up at you on the phone, who can only handle small amounts of intimate time with anyone but his parents?

I was kind of thinking the same thing.. but I would also think that at this point you dont have much to lose... put it on the line for him. tell him what kind of relationship you want and need and dont settle for anything less. If he cant do it you dont get it from him there are many others out there.. dont believe the statistics.

P


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